The Revolt
S. Wise Bauer
425 pp.; $12.99,

In a symposium published in the November 1996 issue of First Things, provocatively titled "The End of Democracy? The Judicial Usurpation of Politics," Charles Colson and four other participants asked whether the current "regime" (that is, the government of the United States) has forfeited its legitimacy and whether it is now incumbent upon Christians to engage in civil disobedience. The symposium generated considerable controversy (CT, Dec. 9, 1996, p. 14) and continues to receive extensive media coverage (see, for example, the February issue of Commentary magazine).

Curiously, two or three months before the symposium appeared, Word published a first novel by a gifted young writer that might have begun to germinate with the very questions posed in First Things. In S. Wise Bauer's The Revolt, set in the near future, the state of Virginia secedes from the Union to form a Christian commonwealth governed by God's law.

A novel is not an argument, and it would be unfair to report in advance how this thought-experiment turns out. But don't start reading it in the evening if you have to get up early the next morning. Bauer, who writes regularly for Colson's "BreakPoint" radio commentary, knows how to keep readers turning the pages.

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